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How small firms can contribute to emissions reduction

How small firms can contribute to emissions reduction

How small firms can contribute to emissions reduction

Carbon dioxide emissions in the UK dropped by 5.8 per cent in 2016, largely thanks to a record 52 per cent decline in coal use. That's according to new Carbon Brief analysis of figures from the Department of Energy, Business and Industrial Strategy.

This is clearly a positive trend and will be welcome news for environmentally aware companies that want to make themselves more energy efficient and sustainable.

The Carbon Brief research revealed that last year's reduction puts UK CO2 emissions approximately 36 percent below 1990 levels. The large fall in coal emissions - to around 37 million tonnes of CO2 - was described as the most "dramatic change".

In 2006, UK coal emissions were nearly four times as high at 137 million tonnes of CO2.

The research highlighted a number of factors that have contributed to the drop-off in coal demand, such as cheaper gas, growth in the renewable energy sector and the closure of Redcar steelworks in late 2015.

Another highly significant development was the twofold increase in the UK's top-up carbon tax in 2015, to £18 per tonne of CO2.

Welcoming the findings, Gareth Redmond-King, head of climate and energy at WWF, described the ongoing decline in UK carbon emissions as "great for the climate". He also said it provides proof that countries can reduce their CO2 output while building a strong, productive economy.

Referring to the drop-off in the use of coal to generate electricity, Mr Redmond-King said it is "crucial" that the government keeps to its pledge to phase out coal. He also stressed that there is more work to be done to improve the country's environmental performance.

"Further investment in green technologies is needed to reduce our emissions further," Mr Redmond-King said.
"Indeed, emissions are falling far slower in the rest of the economy, in particular buildings and transport, and it is therefore vital that the government stops delaying and publishes a strong emissions reduction [plan] to show how all sectors will play their part and secure the benefits of moving to a low-carbon economy."

Businesses that are encouraged by the country's recent progress on reducing carbon emissions might want to look into actions they can take to contribute to this positive trend.

One of the most effective ways for companies of any size to do their bit for the environment is by raising awareness across the workforce. By taking simple steps such as holding dedicated training sessions, distributing information around the office and encouraging eco-friendly practices at work and at home, you can help staff to be more energy efficient.

Consider introducing initiatives that promote eco-friendly commuting or walking to work, such as walking clubs or car-sharing schemes.

It's also important for businesses to send out the right message on environmental performance by ensuring they work with partners and service suppliers with strong green credentials.

 

Posted by Frances Singer

Image courtesy of iStock/NicoElNino